A food bank in Blackburn says it is preparing for a tough winter after seeing an increase in people seeking support, many of whom are already in employment.

The Trussell Trust, which has a network of food banks across the UK, forecasts more than 600,000 people will need the support of its food banks over the coming three-month period.

Food banks across the Trussell Trust network are expecting to provide more than one million emergency food parcels between December 2023 and February 2024 – the most parcels ever provided across this period.

This equates to an average of one food parcel every eight seconds (11,500 a day) and 7,000 people seeking support each day.

Blackburn’s site, in Oakenhurst Road, is no exception and a spokesperson said it is even helping people who have a job and steady income, yet are still unable to afford food for the family.

It has urged those in need to use the Government’s Household Support Fund, which is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

A spokesperson said: “Blackburn Foodbank is getting busier as we move into winter, and we have seen an increase of people in employment seeking support from us.

“While we continue to work towards a future where services like ours aren't needed, Blackburn with Darwen has a close-knit network of support services working hand in hand to help the people of our borough.

“We urge anyone who is struggling to utilise the Household Support Fund, local food clubs and, if necessary, reach out to our foodbank.”

Between December and February last year, Trussell Trust food banks supported more than 220,000 children with emergency food, and 225,000 people who needed to use a food bank for the first time but it is anticipated these numbers will be even higher this year.

Food banks are calling on people in their local communities to donate, if they can, to ensure that they can continue to support everyone who needs their help.

While donations levels have remained stable compared to last year, the continued increase in need is leading to the vast majority of food banks having to purchase stock to make up for this shortfall.

 A recent survey of 282 food banks indicated that in the last three months 93 per cent had to purchase food, at a time when prices are higher than ever, in order to keep up with the rising levels of need.

These pressures have also led to one in three (32 per cent) food banks reporting that they are concerned about being able to continue running at their current level in the coming months.

Despite these challenges, food banks in the Trussell Trust network are committed to doing all they can to help people in these challenging times but are having to adapt their operations in new ways in order to meet this challenge.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “We don’t want to spend every winter saying things at food banks are getting worse, but they are.

“Food banks are not the answer in the long term, but while we continue to fight for the change that could mean they can be closed for good your local food bank urgently needs your support.

“They need donations of food for emergency parcels, and money to fund costs such as the purchasing of food to meet the shortfall in donations they are currently experiencing.

“One in seven people in the UK face hunger because they don’t have enough money to live on.

"That’s not the kind of society we want to live in, and we won’t stand by and let this continue.

"Every year we are seeing more and more people needing food banks, and that is just not right.

“Together, we have roots into hundreds of communities, and while someone facing hunger can’t change the structural issues driving the need for food banks on their own, thousands of us coming together can.

"We must end hunger across the UK so that no one needs a food bank to survive.”